Last month we looked at some of Australia’s best destinations. This month we offer a new hand-picked selection of more of the country’s must-visit places.
Roll out a towel on the world’s whitest beach, NSW
Three beaches in Australia claim to have the whitest sand in the world.
Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay on the NSW south coast is in the Guinness Book of Records, the sand of Lucky Bay near Esperance in Western Australia has been scientifically proven to be whiter, and Whitehaven in the Whitsundays has the purest silica.
Start with pristine Hyams, or see all three and decide for yourself.
Tee off on the world’s longest golf course, SA & WA
You’ll need more than a golf cart if you want to play the Nullarbor Links – the 18-hole par-72 course spans 1365 kilometres, with one hole in each town or roadhouse along the Eyre Highway, from Ceduna to Kalgoorlie.
See some of the oldest rock art in the world, WA
Australia’s Aboriginal rock art is some of the oldest in the world. The mysterious Gwion Gwion figures – previously called Bradshaw figures – pre-date European rock paintings by thousands of years, and you’ll find great examples all over the Kimberley.
Walk through the world’s oldest tropical rainforest, Qld
The Daintree Rainforest, north of Port Douglas, is believed to be 180 million years old – tens of millions of years older than the Amazon rainforest.
It is world-heritage listed because it’s home to the highest number of rare and endangered plant and animal species in the world.
Visit the best place on the planet to see platypus, Qld
Broken River in Eungella National Park in the Mackay Highlands is, according to the locals, the best place on the planet to see platypus in the wild.
There are viewing platforms strung out along the river near the picnic area – go early in the morning or late in the afternoon and you’ll more than likely see half a dozen of the elusive monotremes.
See the Southern Lights, aka the Aurora Australis, Tas
The Southern Hemisphere’s version of the Northern Lights, the Aurora Australis, is every bit as mesmerising.
But, unlike the famous light shows of the Northern Hemisphere, you don’t have to battle it out in snow and ice to see it. The best spot is from the top of Mount Wellington, near Hobart.
Drive across the largest sand island in the world, Qld
Fraser Island is not just the planet’s largest sand island, it’s also the only place where tall rainforests grow on sand dunes.
The sandy four-wheel-drive tracks that wind through the rainforest are just as exciting as the 130-kilometre beach track that runs along the island’s east coast.
Discover the world’s oldest living culture, NT
Australian Aboriginal culture goes back more than 50,000 years, and Arnhem Land is one of its strongholds. The annual Garma Festival near Nhulunbuy in August is one of the biggest indigenous cultural events in the country.
See the world’s biggest colony of little penguins, Vic
You don’t need to voyage to Antarctica to see masses of penguins, Gabo Island, just offshore from Mallacoota, is, home to the largest known breeding colony of little penguins in the world.
See Sydney light up from the top of the harbour bridge, NSW
Even if you cross the harbour every day on your commute, it’s hard to beat the view of the city from the top of the harbour bridge.
It’s spectacular anytime of day, but climb it during the annual Vivid festival (until June 16) for a light show like nowhere else on earth.
Walk with koalas, Vic
Raymond Island is home to one of the largest koala colonies in Victoria. With about 300 on the tiny island, it’s one of the best places to see koalas in the wild.
There’s a marked koala trail to follow, with brightly painted bollards showing the way. The free Raymond Island ferry departs every half-hour from Paynesville, and the crossing takes about three minutes.
Lee Atkinson is a travel writer who specialises in Australia. Her latest book is Explore Australia by Camper Trailer, out now from Hardie Grant.